Pay to Message Your Favourite Celebrity on Facebook

Facebook users in the UK will be able to benefit from a controversial new feature that allows users, ordinary members of the public, to pay to send Facebook messages to celebrities and other people who they’re not otherwise able to connect with.

This feature, said to have been rolled out to prevent celebrities being bombarded with messages from fans – or as Facebook refer to it “spam” – has been live in the US since December, but the UK is one of a further 36 countries now being trialled.

By paying the fee to message a celebrity users will be able to ensure that their messages goes directly to the celebrity’s in-box rather than the “other” less visible folders which captures all messages from people not within the user’s circle of friends.

The cost of sending a message to your favourite celebrity will depend on a “fame” algorithm which takes into account numerous factors including the number of followers that the celebrity has on their Facebook account – though Facebook have made it clear that a higher price to message one celebrity over another does not necessarily make them more “famous”!

In January of this year Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, set a fee of £61 to contact him. Zuckerberg believes that Facebook messaging will become an alternative to email.  The recent launch of Facebook Home and integration with phone operating systems is part of this strategy of making Facebook the conduit for all communications – and it’s certainly suggested by some that Facebook will not only become an alternative to email, but will replace SMS messaging as well.

Facebook have come under some criticism for this latest move as they’d always said that the site would be “free and always will be.”  Whether Facebook user’s will pay to message their favourite celebrity remains to be seen, particularly when Twitter allows users them to contact them for free.

It will also be interesting to see how celebrities react to this charging structure.  Whilst some may be pleased that Facebook is saving them from being bombarded with fan-mail, there will almost certainly be others who feel, publicly at least, that their fans should be able to contact them for free.

And how long before a celebrity argues that Facebook should be giving them a cut of any revenues generated through messages sent to them? After all if Facebook are able to charge £10.68 to message Tom Daley, and that price is determined and is trading off his “personality”, surely most of the revenue should go to him?

For those Facebook users with shallower pockets then for 71p you can contact the UK government’s culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, the comedians Bill Bailey and Miranda Hart or Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida Bonas.

We’re pleased to say that you  can always message the StatusCake team on Facebook for free!

James Barnes, 

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